I’m not the only one in easytobook.com’s marketing department that defines himself as a ‘geek’. Like everyone at easytobook.com, I’m also an addicted traveller. If you combine an expert traveller and a geek what you get is a kind of mythological animal that goes searching for a Wi-Fi connection regardless of whether he’s in New York City or in a small town in Southern Italy.
To help this traveller I decided, with the help of other geeks, to make a list of the top useful geek gadgets to carry when travelling.
Let’s start from the beginning, with some decent gadgets for our luggage:
Personally, I often have an issue with the weight limit on my flights – especially when you look at the size of some of these passengers…
Something like this gadget (perhaps an analogue version if you’re on a really tight budget) could help you to avoid a panic-stricken reshuffle at the check-in desk or a fine that halves your existing budget.
Solar powered backpack
If you’re on a trek – or at least doing some kind of daytime activity – and you’re using electronic items in the evening, this bag allows you to charge your equipment without having to wait around for it. No handles to turn, no wall socket required, no endless hours tilting your panel to catch the most rays; just chuck your stuff in your rucksack and leave the rest to Helios.
Trace me luggage tag
We live in the 21st century, though the way some airports operate often doesn’t reflect that. Lost baggage can be an absolute nightmare, but this tag can help officials redirect your luggage to you. The information on the tag is input into a worldwide ownership website in order to find a destination address. Then, hopefully, you’ll soon be the recipient of a good news telephone call.
Everybody hates tangled wires and having to chase items through their luggage. Here’s a simple end to the frustration: this gadget holds your stuff neatly in place so you know where it is and you can reach it with the minimum of fuss. Plus maybe you’ll feel a bit like a spy with this kind of setup.
And now some gadgets for our picture-savvy travellers:
Bottle Top Tripod
Another simple premise that proves very effective. Most of us carry bottles of some kind, and this tripod attachment can remove the need for lugging the full three-legged instrument round in your bag. After all, even Amundsen and Captain Scott took photos – who isn’t going to get some use out of this?
Another variation on a tripod, this gadget takes up a bit more space and weight than the bottle top, but is much more flexible. Tilt, hang, lean, whatever – it’s a versatile piece of kit that can help you get some decent angles without having to drag round heavy equipment.
A nifty gadget to record the fine details of every photo you took on your travels. This GPS tracker can tell you exactly where and when you took each photo, and the combined software allows you to build a map dotted with pins that illustrates this in a visual way. Wow – where was this photo of the Tower of London taken? Or this one of the Berlin Wall?? Yeah, exactly; you can’t live without it.
Tourist remover software for photos
Sounds too good to be true, especially for a photo novice like me. If you’ve tried taking a photo at the Rialto Bridge, the Eiffel Tower or Derby Cathedral, you’ll know how hard it is to get a clear shot. Miraculously, this software helps you erase unwanted people from your scene…a bit like Photoshop – the Guantanamo Bay version.
And now something for our very Hi-Tech travellers:
If you’re one of those people who simply must check their email in a hot air balloon over the Kalahari (and I know there are a lot of you) this simple device provides a cushioned rest for your laptop while you tell all your Facebook friends about the fun you could be having if you weren’t tapping out these banal status updates.
Every time I pack my suitcase it comes down to a toss up between my keyboard and my set of Jamie Oliver cookery books; there’s never enough room for both. Now I don’t have to worry about that problem: I can just slot this ‘magic cube’ alongside my framed photo of Mr T and I’m free to worry about other issues, like finding a flat surface for it while I’m at the beach.
At $170 a piece, this gadget is an absolute snip that you can’t afford to not have.
Alternatively, I can combine comfort with functionality in my choice of wardrobe. Instead of spending $170 on a laser and $10 on a pair of slacks I can give De Nijs a shout and haggle up a pair of keyboard jeans. Awesome – now I can fiddle with my crotch in public and not get arrested.
Emergency phone charger (battery)
Sometimes I’m too busy thinking about cake to make any time to plan ahead, which is why I’m often out for the evening when my phone dies on me. This is a pain in the buttocks, but it could be much worse if I was lost in the middle of the Serengeti and needed a way to call in helicopter evacuation. Enter the emergency phone charger. As the saying goes, just plug and play.
When I was living in the Himalayas (just slip that in) a wind-up torch was invaluable to me. I didn’t need to travel for a day to buy batteries, and I didn’t need to leave it out all day plugged in to a solar panel. Holy twisting handle, Batman – this torch also charges your phone.
Of course, the best way to avoid worrying about your phone battery is to not have a phone, but this gadget offers you an alternative: wind it up, selectah.
Wi-fi hotspot detector
Imagine the scenario: you’re hacking your way through the Borneo jungle when you stumble across a herd of frolicking Stegosaurus. Could this be the fabled Lost World? You pull out your camera (with GPS photo tagger) and snap a few shots. You then need to upload the photos to FB asap…but how on Earth??? Fear not – with this Wi-Fi hotspot detector you can position yourself for perfect connectivity. Somebody call National Geographic.
Philips Rechargeable Power Pack
Again; imagine you’re on a bus journey to the foot of the Inca Trail. Your companions are a nice bunch, but they’re a bit three-dimensional. You’re itching to check out some Family Guy clips on YouTube, or even get in a couple of rounds on World of Warcraft…but this bus has no power outlet and your laptop has a battery life just short of five minutes. What to do??? You need a portable power station for all your electronic devices. This is where the rechargeable power pack comes into its own. Phew – thanks for saving my holiday sanity, Philips.
It’s pleasing to find an electric socket in your hotel room, but it’s not much good if you’ve got a two-pin plug and these holes make the shape of a middle finger.
The solution is pretty simple and has been around for a while. This travel adapter is a universal device that allows you to plug your electrical items directly into the wall socket. Pretty freaky, Bowie.
Oh, also; the USB adapter lets you charge other items like MP3 players or cameras from the same adapter. Wow…does NASA know about this device?
Security personal alarm
I don’t really want to joke about this gadget because if my girlfriend was travelling anywhere I’d want her to carry this – just in case. It’s not just for the girls, either; we’re all vulnerable at some point or other. This thing is easy to carry and use, and nine quid is a small price to pay for a little extra personal security. Only use it when you absolutely have to, especially on a crowded bus.
Compact reading light
Everybody knows that sleep is for wimps. I much prefer to rock the night away by bouncing over the iambs of Renaissance sonnets. Whether you’re falling in love with vampires at twilight or learning how to eat, pray and love, this lamp comes in handy. It’s lightweight, powered with an LED, and conveniently clips onto the edge of your page. You’ll probably attract more moths than Javier Bardems, though.
Lets face it; everyone needs to recharge their batteries once in a while. I like to eat a Cornish pasty and then fall asleep to the melodic strains of Elgar. This gadget allows you to offer something similar to your MP3 player, camera, mobile phone etc. A comforting plateau for repose and contemplation, the Load-Ding attaches to a wall plug socket, which is useful for short cables. Lay your device down to sleep while you cook up a tasty snack.
And now something for your health & hygiene (yes, you can be geeky even when you talk about health & hygiene):
A towel that is lightweight, highly absorbent, dries quickly, is large enough to use for your whole body and yet folds up into a tiny package. I also used my towel as a bed cover, pillow, bottle insulator and makeshift bag. Highly recommended.
Just add water! Liquids add a lot of weight to your bag, so these sheets of paper shampoo help to minimise the weight taken up by your toiletries. They also take up less space. Very similar to…
Laundry wash leaves
In case you don’t want to wash your clothes with paper shampoo, these laundry wash leaves can come in very handy. As above, just add water and rub into your laundry to generate some suds. This one smells of green tea, but that doesn’t mean you should drink it. Just in case.
Water treatment pen
Stomach problems are common in places with poor water treatment facilities. So, if you’re travelling to Asia, Africa or South America (let’s face it; odds say you are) this gadget may at least be useful to you, and at most may save your life. Again, it’s small, lightweight and very effective. You’ll need to change salts and batteries occasionally, but a light will tell you when you need to do that. Bottoms up.
Last, but not least, some far-fetched gadgets:
Dirty pants safe
True, I wouldn’t go through soiled underwear to steal cash, but then straight up and down I’m not a thief. However, this pants idea is definitely worth trying, as it could be a very effective deterrent. I remember once reading this ‘Oor Wullie’ cartoon where Wullie spent all his money on a piggy bank to keep it in, only to realise that he had no money left to put in there. The price of these pants reminds me of that.
Giant swiss army knife
An excellent example of ‘big doesn’t necessarily mean better’, the Giant Swiss Army Knife is more like a party prop than a survival tool. Probably the best uses for this gadget include smash and grab, wheel chock, laptop rest, or hot air balloon ballast. Whichever way you look at it, you need pretty deep pockets to make this worth purchasing.
Phew, what a list. It’s hard to imagine how we ever made it out the front door without all these magnificent inventions. If we’ve given you some inspiration, why not pop over to easytobook.com’s Amazon shop (UK shop – DE shop – FR shop) and browse the shelves for these products and more. Are you a bad-to-the-bone geek with a gadget you truly cannot travel without? Let us know!